Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Attack Wing: Ships of the Line

New year and new start for the gaming line here on Some Kind of Star Trek.

Rather than the standard "this card does this..." etc etc that I've come to produce, it's time to stir it up a bit and look at the latest faction packs with a bit of a different perspective.

Yes, there's still photos of all the cards and ships but for 2023 I want to try and think about these releases more in line with what they bring to the game and their impact on play. Undoubtedly there will be an element referring to the stats and some abilities but hopefully this will be a bit more subjective on content.


Long awaited in the UK, the Federation Ships of the Line faction pack might initially be seen as a follow up to the 2022 To Boldly Go set and comprises of three completely different ships.

That set offered up Galaxy, Defiant and Miranda Classes while Ships of the Line includes Sovereign, Saber and Prometheus while both packs share the Akira Class.

But what makes this pack worth the wait and also worth forking out £40 plus? Well for one, it'll certainly appeal to computer gamers with its firm links to Star Trek Online and even includes a code for players to pick up some extra ships and packs. All four of the ship models have been given an Online makeover with some of the best detailing and paintwork that Wizkids has produced since the inception of Attack Wing. Impulse engines are clear, the metallic coat allows for all the surface markings to stand out and it doesn't look like these were hurriedly painted for once. Even the stand tubes are in the right place and at the right angle so I've not ended up with a ship that looks like it's making a suicide dive.

But even this is just a fraction of the faction(!) because this is one of the most stuffed packs to date. One noticeable upgrade is the use of double-sided ship cards meaning that each named vessel has a reverse side that shows as its generic version. In this way, Ships of the Line offers up two named Sovereign, Saber and Prometheus class ships and one Akira Class to choose from. The significance here is that each of the classes is represented by the Class name ship and this becomes more important as you dig into the bones of the set.

Over the course of these faction packs Wizkids have made a series of alterations to their product. On the cards there are more specific directions given in a symbolic manner to represent how the cards can be used as well as a dramatic update to the way in which ships and upgrades are costed.

Back in The Day the USS Enterprise-E was priced up at 32 points but here the Sovereign and Mushashi are a more reasonable 29 points. Likewise the Saber, Prometheus and Akira have also been cut down to allow players a greater range of upgrades within the point boundaries played at events and suggested within the structure of the game.

Even if you just take the Sovereign, that's four points to use elsewhere with a ship that can still hit with a standard five attack dice.

Further into the pack there are a range of new Crew, Weapon and Tech upgrades to outfit your ship. For the Prometheus is a more reasonably priced Multi-Vector Assault mode that doesn't suck up all your points.

Captain options range in skill from seven for Sanders with Necheyev available as both Captain and Admiral alongside Strickler and Patterson.

As you dig into the pack, Strickler is the first card to really hint at the hidden potential here with his ability designed to work more effectively with the Federation Prototype feature. This is the big draw for the pack which includes four of that card. Able to be equipped only to a ship that has the same name as its class (USS Sovereign for Sovereign Class). That ship can then add an additional upgrade slot of its choice and can re-roll a blank or Battle Station result when defending. 

On top of that, the pack includes a series of upgrades that have one ability but then add an
additional feature should you have that Federation Prototype card in play. For instance both Harry Kim and Lasca allow your ship to repair a hull point as well as their base feature. Sisko removes Time or Disabled tokens but also adds a Battle Station token thanks to that Prototype feature. 

In the Weapons selection there’s a decent shuffle up too with Type 10 phasers now available but taking up two slots. It's a more realistic flavour since this powerful offensive weapon adds an attack die to your ship's firepower and allows two blank results to be rerolled. Dorsal Phasers also make a return providing a solid 360 degree firing arc that is also present with Dorsal Torpedo Pod although this can only be equipped on the Akira Class. 

A 3 cost for Quantum Torpedoes (but only if on certain classes) adds even more firepower to the party with reroll abilities included.  Wizkids also making a big change to the way in which the Prometheus Class activates Multi-Vector Assault Mode. Not only is the cost reduced to make it actually usable but it creates two further points from which to launch attacks wth four attack dice, simulating the splitting of the ship. 

In fact the Prometheus Class gets a damn good deal in this pack with both Ablative Hull Armour and Regenerative Shields only able to be used by them. 

Multi-Spectrum Shielding helps add some weight to your (surprise) Shields by a point and the EMH 1 will offer the chance to remove Time Tokens as an Action and return your ship to full active status in a blink.

The Federation Prototype card (of which there are four included) acts as a new Starship Construction feature. It makes utilising the class-named starship almost a no-brainer, adding either a Weapon, Tech or Crew slot to the vessel and allowing one blank or Battle Station result in defence to be rerolled every time. 

As said, this is a pack which really plays to the possibilities and options with the sense that you could build a fully operational fleet straight from this selection of cards alone and stand a decent chance of coming out on top.

But that's not all because also included with all the usual tokens (aside from even more shields thank goodness!!!!) is a mission booklet. Usually these are confined to a set of cards but with Ships of the Line, Wizkids have stepped up and created a mini-campaign. 

As a spot of genius at work, the campaign booklet even goes as far as to suggest Escort and Prototype combos of ships. The aim here is to develop the Prototype while you have another ship to protect it. Across the four missions laid out, players can upgrade their shiny new NX-registry starship as long as they can keep hold of it!

This is certainly a new spin for the game with a self-contained and exciting story to play through not too dissimilar to the way in which ships are developed in Alliance.

In conclusion, this is probably one of if not the best faction packs released for the game. Offering better costings, more varied upgrades and some stupidly powerful abilities, Ships of the Line really is playable from the box and lets players take command of a great ship and its more unique abilities without having to trade off too much in terms of defences or crew for example. I would definitely recommend this to Attack Wing players old or new and I can only hope that the Romulan pack is just as cracking when we open her up.

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